PNG TRIBE HANGS RETARDED MAN IN RETRIBUTION

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Victim had killed a teacher in Enga province

By James Apa Gumuno

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 5, 2008) – A mentally retarded person who attacked and killed a young teacher in Enga province was attacked by his own tribesmen and hanged to death in a village between Sirunki and Laiagam last Sunday.

[PIR editor’s note: Enga Province is located in the central region of Papua New Guinea’s mainland peninsula, north of Southern Highlands Province. Kandep is in the south-central part of Enga province.]

The teacher killed was identified as Peter Itaki from Yakaedis village in the Minamb Valley in Wapenamanda district.

Itaki, in his 20s, graduated from Dauli Teacher’s College last year and was posted to Kaipal Primary School in his first year of teaching.

Reports from Enga province say Itaki was chewing betel nut in a trade store and was on his way out when he was attacked.

[PIR editor’s note: Betel nut chewing involves sprinkling lime powder on the nut before chewing.]

His assailant hit him on the head with an axe several times and he died as a result.

Angry tribesmen of the killer attacked him, inflicting wounds to his limbs, and then hanged him by the roadside to die.

It is understood the retarded person was a constant menace to the community. He is said to be a regular smoker of marijuana who is married with five children.

Relatives of Itaki and leaders Kiap Yasima and Steven Kia in Minamb Valley called for calm as they received the body of the teacher and mourned his death yesterday.

They condemned the brutal killing of Itaki, but urged relatives not to take the law into their own hands.

Highlands police divisional commander and Assistant Police Commissioner Simon Kauba said yesterday that he heard about the incident but could not confirm it with provincial police commander Chief Supt Michael Chare in Wabag due to communication problems.

Deputy governor of Enga and Member for Wapenamanda Miki Kaeok confirmed the killing.

Mr Kaeok said the killer was hanged to death by his own tribesmen.

Governor Peter Ipatas, who is in Manus province for the Governors’ Conference, said he is yet to be briefed on what happened but said killings in any form should be condemned.

He said there are laws in place to deal with those who take other people’s lives.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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